Monday, February 27, 2012

Dance Workforce Census: Earnings Among Individuals, Ages 21-35

Dance Workforce Census: Earnings Among Individuals, Ages 21-35
“The value of this study is its presentation of the first concrete research relating to the untenable economic plight of young dancers, choreographers and administrators working within the dance field in New York City. While no answers are posed, the need to find answers is made evident. If the passion, discipline and creativity of these individuals is not to be wasted, it must be allowed to flourish in a way that confirms that dance is, indeed, a respected profession — a place where achievement is recognized by the ability to earn a living wage, with appropriate health insurance benefits and a modicum of financial stability.”
–Beverly D’Anne

February 27, 2012. The Dance/NYC Junior Committee has published findings from its May 2011 survey research initiative: a Dance Workforce Census: Earnings Among Individuals, Ages 21-35, or, for short: the “21-35 Report.”

The Research. Based on survey responses collected in May 2011 from over 1,200 individuals working in the dance field in New York City, findings describe how a critical segment of the dance workforce is surviving financially. In collaboration with an academic research partner, the Junior Committee designed the survey to aggregate data on the scope of work performed or volunteered by individuals in their relative peer group (ages 21-35) in the year 2010, and the earnings or other benefits with which they were compensated for that work.

The Team. This is an all-volunteer initiative of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee, representing over 1,000 hours of volunteer time. The Junior Committee gratefully acknowledges the pro bono partnership of Bloustein Center for Survey Research (BCSR) at Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the collaborative advisement of Dance/NYC and Dance/USA.

The Intent. The Dance/NYC Junior Committee is, itself, a sample of this young workforce, striving to sustain unpredictable careers in dance in an increasingly expensive City. This initiative began with members’ own stories: many did not have health insurance; wondered how to plan to raise families and someday retire; wanted to save for the future; and found no industry standards for pay. The goal of this research was to generate a proactive conversation and serve as a tool for informed decision-making– on the part of the Junior Committee’s peers, colleagues, employers, and all advocates for dance.

Moving Forward. Over the winter, armed with the data published here, the Dance/NYC Junior Committee has been generating a forward-thinking dialogue with key policy makers, funders, and the community – most recently at Dance/NYC’s Mid-season Symposium 2012 – to consider practices and programs that will help this workforce survive and thrive in dance careers in New York City.

Media Alert: Read the Crain's New York Business article on the 21-35 Report,

"Workin' hard for the money: Dancers on poverty line"

Visit the Dance/NYC Junior Committee at

Contact External Relations Manager Julia Kelly at

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